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Interview conducted by Stuart D. Monroe

bill moseley interview large

Call him Chop Top (Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2) …or Otis B. Driftwood (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, 3 from Hell)…or Luigi Largo (Repo! The Genetic Opera) …or even Mayor Buckman (2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams) …you can even go with Johnnie (Night of the Living Dead 1990). You can call him any of those names or dozens more; with well over 100 roles in film, TV, and even video games, Bill Moseley has done it all.

Me? I simply call him the motherfucking man.

The world knows him as the guy who plays batshit crazy with eerie aplomb. While that is his signature, he also has ridiculous range and mental acumen. I was tickled to death to discover he’s as cool as you’d hope and as witty as they come. Bill was gracious enough to give Horror DNA a bloody slice of his time to discuss 3 from Hell (SPOILER ALERT: it’s both exactly what you’re expecting and not at all what you’re expecting!), working with Rob Zombie and his stellar casts over the years, what a complete badass Sherri Moon Zombie is, and what scene from the movie he’ll never forget.

Get ready to do the Devil’s work.

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Bill Moseley: Hey, Stuart! How’s it going?

Stuart Monroe: Hey. How you doing, Mr. Moseley?

BM: I’m doing well.

SM: Outstanding. Glad to hear it. I guess you’ve done a few of these today, huh?

BM: You know, I have actually. But it always seems like the first time, though. That’s a rock song, isn’t it?

SM: [laughs] Yeah, actually.

BM: [singing!] “Feels like the first time…”

SM: [laughs] You can never go wrong with the classics!

3 from hell largeSM: So, I’ve seen 3 from Hell twice now. Luckily the screener lasted 48 hours, so I got to watch it more than once.

BM: Well that’s really good!

SM: Everybody’s jealous, so I’m bragging about it. What can I say? But, yeah…everyone involved is at their best here. It’s still violent and nasty as hell, thank God, but I thought that, at the core, it’s a story about family bonds, loss, and facing the inevitable end. That is the big message I got from it. Was that…the gravitas of that…was that part of the design? Or am I just reading too much into a violence-on-the-road film? Otis seems to be so much wiser and, I don’t want to say restrained exactly, but there’s a big difference in the character this time around.

BM: Well, there’s a certain softness to it that is a surprise, I think. Your question is more of a Rob Zombie question, you know, in terms of what did he have in mind or how did he see the thing go. Uh, to me it’s all about showing up, trying to keep food out of my beard, knowing my lines, and hitting my mark.

SM: That is one hell of a beard!

BM: Yeah! And not getting my head chopped off by that huge guy with the blade!

SM: Oh, yeah. The big bastard from Dexter! That is a fantastic scene there at the end. He’s one big son of a bitch.

BM: He’s a great guy, by the way.

SM: A gentle giant?

BM: He really is. Thank God.

SM: Well, I know Rob told you when you were filming the infamous “Kahiki Palms pistol rape scene” that “art isn’t safe”. 3 from Hell definitely cements that. Where there any moments in this one that rivaled that lack of “safety” and intensity? I mean, it’s so damn intense from start to finish. Which ones stuck out for you?

BM: You mean the most intense scenes?

SM: Yes, sir.

BM: Um, you know it’s interesting. I have a whole different take on 3 from Hell. One of my favorite scenes is when Foxy [Richard Brake; 31] is surprised by the two bounty hunters in the woods. What was interesting about that scene was, first of all, his great improv where he started to talk about the woman’s titties; doing his whole weird, creepy sex improv. What was really interesting, though, was that the actress who played that woman is my wife in real life [Lucinda Jenney; Thinner], and I was standing just off camera laughing my ass, trying not to do distract her. I thought that was so funny. And she was so good in it! I don’t think “Kill him, kill him!” was actually in the script. It was just Lucinda Jenney reacting to Richard Brake’s weird improv.

SM: Got a little hypnotized and creeped out by it, huh? Yeah, he’s something else, man. He’s such a powerhouse.

BM: He really is.bill moseley interview 04

SM: What did he do, like, how did that change the dynamic of the movie? Sid Haig has such a small part, an important part, but a small part at the beginning and then Richard Brake sort of takes over. What was that like? He filled some pretty big shoes there.

BM: Yeah. And you know especially because they were clown shoes, they were size 24! He came on the set and I met him, literally, at most a day or two before we started shooting. So, he came on set and I had certainly seen his work on Rob Zombie’s 31 when Richard played Doomhead and, boy, he was a real force to be reckoned with. But I had never met him before. Of course, Rob and Sherri had, and I was already friends with Jeff Daniel Phillips and Pancho Moler. Everybody spoke very highly of Richard, but still you gotta meet the guy in order to see how the chemistry is. And really within five minutes of meeting him, I knew he was a great guy. We got along really well and worked together so well. I would have to say that, again, the Kahiki Palms motel scene in The Devil’s Rejects was the most intense scene I’ve ever done. I would have to match that with what was maybe the most relaxed moment I’ve ever had in front of a camera. It was the scene where Richard and I are outdoors. It’s night and I’m eating a can of beans. I ask him if these are the best beans in the world, and he says, “No, you’re just happy to get that prison slop taste out of your mouth.” That whole scene right there, I’ve never been more comfortable. There could’ve been a camera there, there could not have been a camera there. We just had such a good bond in that scene not only as characters but as actors. It was, for me, a high-water mark. I just thought it was, really, it just made acting so easy and so fun; which is really where it should be all the time. But, most of the time we try to struggle to get out of the way and control how we look and which side is our best side and what’s that stinkin’ line? You know, that was a moment where all of that just washed away and it was two guys just having a good conversation under the moon.

bill moseley interview 01SM: Yeah, it is very natural and cemented pretty quickly that the relationship was believable, that these guys are brothers and they have a long history. That is a particularly nice scene. As it pertains to Baby [Sherri Moon Zombie] in this one…it’s safe to say the whole series will easily be remembered as Zombie’s biggest, most powerful thing, but you and Baby have been at the core of every movie. What’s your relationship like with Sherri offscreen? She’s been great in every movie, but she steps it up so much in this one that it had to be a blast just to see her go at it this time around.

BM: Well, I was so impressed with Sherri and I was so proud of Rob for giving her a workload that she was not only up to but exceeded. I just thought she really came of age. I’d say that 3 from Hell is really Baby’s movie, that she really does come of age in this. She goes from skittish and girlish, which are great and certainly wonderful characteristics of her character (in addition to being deadly). But this time she really was a woman, I thought, and really became much more. She grew and I thought she did a fantastic job. And off camera? We’ve always had a good relationship. It’s been almost 20 years now. Actually, I guess in November it’ll be 20 years. I met her October of ’99. I’ve seen her grow not only as a person but as an actor. She just really kicked some butt in this one. It was really a lot of fun to stand there and watch her work.

SM: The cast, all the way around, is really the epitome of that old adage that there are no small parts only small actors. That’s not a Pancho joke! Is this the best ensemble cast you’ve ever worked with? There are so many great actors that it just floors you.

BM: It’s pretty much true of all the Rob Zombie movies I’ve been in. Rob really has a great eye for actors. Whether it’s someone he grew up watching on TV or in the movies, or someone he’s heard about or seen in contemporary work, he really has a great eye for it. And I think 3 from Hell is certainly no exception to that. I think also that if you look at Devil’s Rejects in just about every part…

SM: True…

BM: …whether it’s Diamond Dallas Page or Danny [Trejo] or Steve Railsback! I mean, come on! One of my favorite actors! Everybody just seems to get a part big, bill moseley interview 02small, or otherwise that’s important minutes on the screen. By the way, I though Dee Wallace [Greta the Guard] did a great job.

SM: Oh, yeah! Absolutely!

BM: Oh my God! I’ve known her from some other movies we’ve worked on, but I’ve known her from the horror convention circuit. I thought she really kicked some ass.

SM: Yeah, when they announced the casting a while back and I saw her name on there I geeked out pretty hard. I’ve met her at multiple cons, and she’s so sweet and dynamic at the same time. I was like, “I don’t know what part she’s playing, but it doesn’t matter ‘cause she’s gonna kick ass no matter what!”

BM: Right?! Yeah, that’s so funny ‘cause in life she’s so spiritual and kind of a healer. Then you see her in 3 from Hell as the prison guard, like wow! She is good!

SM: Yeah, that chemistry she had with Sherri was a bit uncomfortable to watch, but I think it’s definitely supposed to be.

BM: And that’s what I like about Rob. Rob will go places and in relationships and situations that, you know…when Sherri is running down the nude girl who’s escaped from the warden’s house and looks up and sees the lady sitting outside…

SM: Hi, Granny!

BM: Yeah, she says, “Hi, Granny!” That’s the kind of stuff that I love. That’s what really, that kind of attitude, is what attracted me and keeps me happy in the horror genre after all these years.

SM: That scene right there could be the trailer itself. Just that one scene, you don’t need anything else.

BM: That would be amazing!

[At this point, we had gone over time, and unfortunately, we had to end the interview.]

BM: Well, it was great talking to you!

SM: Thank you so much, Bill! I appreciate you taking the time for us, sir.

BM: It was my pleasure.

Tickets for the September 16th/17th/18th nationwide release of 3 FROM HELL are available at FathomEvents.com/3FromHell.

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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer - USA
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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